CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is asking another Ohio city to repeal a law that makes panhandling a minor criminal offense.
At issue is an ordinance in Chillicothe (chihl-ih-KAHTH’-ee) in southern Ohio that addresses “suspicious persons” and which prohibits soliciting donations by an individual.
The Chillicothe Gazette reported Wednesday that the ACLU asked the city in a letter last month to overturn the law. The civil rights group pointed to U.S. Supreme Court rulings that say requests for monetary contributions are protected speech.
Mayor Luke Feeney has asked city council to review the ordinance in question.
The paper says Columbus changed its approach to panhandling by focusing on people who walk up to individuals at ATMs or panhandle at specific locations such as highway exits.